Would it make sense to think of Trifles as a tragedy? In what ways does Trifles have tragic qualities?In what ways does it not? Does it seem to create anything like the effect Aristotle felt...

Would it make sense to think of Trifles as a tragedy? In what ways does Trifles have tragic qualities?

In what ways does it not? Does it seem to create anything like the effect Aristotle felt tragedies should, "the katharsis of pity and fear"?

Asked on by shani28

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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We, of course, are not using the word “tragedy” here strictly in the Aristotelian sense of the word—no high figure falling from a high place, etc.—but we can ask whether a tragedy has occurred here in the Webster’s dictionary sense of “a serious drama describing a conflict between a protagonist and a superior force.”  The oddity here is that the “tragedy” actually occurred in the exposition, before the stage action proceeds—the “protagonist” (Minnie Wright) has killed the “antagonist” (Mr. Wright) before the curtain rises.  We are only privileged with the staging of the denouement (de-nude-ment), the setting right, the final revelation that returns all to balance.  It is a remarkable feat of  Susan Glaspell that  she has here staged the revelation in such a way that we, the audience, are satisfied (a catharsis?), along with the silent women, while the “deus ex machina” (the police) are left ignorant.    

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